DAS faculty social

February 18, 2019

Faculty in the Department of Asian Studies gathered to socialize and relax on February 14th. Professors Uffe Bergeton, John Caldwell, Mark Driscoll, Ji-Yeon Jo, Pamela Lothspeich, Morgan Pitelka, Afroz Taj, Claudia Yaghoobi, and Nadia Yaqub, plus department Accounting Technician Angelika Straus gathered at Linda’s for good cheer. 

Arabic summer courses

January 23, 2019


  • Intensive courses for introductory Arabic studies
  • A full academic year (8 credit hours) will be covered over the two summer sessions
  • Classes meet five days per week from 9:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m
  • Visiting student application opens February 4, 2019
  • Summer School registration begins March 18, 2019
  • FLAS funding eligible

FLYER: UNC Arabic Summer Courses 2019

First Session (May 15-June 20)

  • Elementary Arabic I (ARAB 101, 4 credit hours) Introduction to written and spoken Arabic. Includes introduction to both Modern Standard Arabic and a dialect. No prerequisite.

Second Session (June 24-July 30)

  • Elementary Arabic II (ARAB 102, 4 credit hours) Continued introduction to, and development of, written and spoken Arabic skills. Prerequisite: ARAB 101 or departmental placement.

On-campus housing available on request
Program is available to current UNC students, incoming freshmen, students from other universities, community members, and rising high school seniors
For more information about Arabic Studies at UNC Chapel Hill, please visit http://asianstudies.unc.edu/programs/arabic

Professor Lothspeich to serve in MLA’s Delegate Assembly

January 10, 2019

Associate Professor Pamela Lothspeich has been elected a delegate for Women and Gender in the Profession in the Delegate Assembly of the Modern Language Association, the largest professional organization for scholars of language and literature in the U.S.  She will be serving in this capacity for a three-year term beginning in January 2019.

Advanced Hindi-Urdu Student Presents Poetry at Conference

December 3, 2018

One of the department’s advanced Hindi-Urdu students, Denton Ong, presented his original Hindi poetry at a major Hindi literature conference in Boston. The conference, “Hindi Manch Rashtriya Mahostav (Hindi Manch National Convention)” is the first of its kind in the United States to feature Hindi learners alongside native language poets and creative writers. Attendees included the Consular General from India. Denton wrote his poems in Professor Afroz Taj’s HNUR 306 course as part of a creative writing assignment.

Student Panel on Partition at the FH&N Conference

December 3, 2018

On Saturday, December 1, four students in Professor Lothspeich’s Asia 331/PWAD 3331/HIST 335 “Cracking India: Partition and its Legacy in South Asia,” presented papers on the panel “Gendered Violence at the Time of India’s Partition,” at the Feminisms Here and Now conference organized by graduate students at UNC. The papers of Azba Wahid, Laurel Cunningham, Aashka Patel (Asian Studies major and honors student), and Hannah Feinsilber all dealt with different aspects of the violence women faced when India gained Independence in 1947 and new borders were drawn, creating Pakistan and precipitating mass migrations and upheaval. The panel was well-attended and closed with a lively Q&A.

Interview with Professor Jonathan Kief

November 28, 2018

By: Muziah Kargbo

I had the chance to interview the newest addition to the department, Professor Jonathan Kief, who teaches within the Korean program on the relationship between South and North Korea through literature and culture. Talking to him led to some stimulating conversation on how he became interested in North and South Korea specifically. He began with that his interest in North and South Korea just happened randomly in fact. Back at Columbia University he needed a summer job and only the East Asian department accepted him. During his time there he grew interested in taking East Asian-focused courses further growing his interest in East Asia, specifically South Korea.

Yet, he noticed the lack of literature courses pertaining to South Korea. This sparked an interest in pursuing a degree in South Korean literature. During his research, he noticed a lot of North Korean sources cropped up allowing him to delve more into researching the other Korea as well.  Professor Kief explains how he feels North Korea has been left out of a lot of courses relating to Korea despite the shared history and culture the nation had with South Korea before the Korean War. He feels it’s necessary to look at both Koreas to understand the interactions between the two while also adding more depth to the one dimensional view we typically have on North Korea (e.g. nuclear weapons, crazy Kim Jong-Un, backwards civilization).

Currently, he is looking at the interactions between North and South Korean culture in the late 1940s through the 1960s. He explained that though we may look at the countries as two separate literary spheres, they emerged at the same time and act in competition with each other though they are interrelated. He also added that Japan mediated literature between the two Koreas during this time. Professor Kief’s future research involves looking more deeply into this relationship through the use of radio during this time.

As for how this research will be incorporated into future courses at UNC, Professor Kief has proposed a number of courses including ones like “Cold War Culture in East Asia” which would look at not only the Koreas, but China, Japan, Taiwan, and even Hong Kong and another course titled “Imagining the City in Modern Korea” which would be about how urban space is represented in literature and film within history. He also hopes to include North Korea as much as possible in any and all courses he proposes in the future.

Finally, our discussion ended with a small talk about the future Korean major. With a tentative fall 2019 launch date, we can’t give away too many details, but after my discussion with Professor Kief, it’s a major to look forward to and will be worth the wait!

Once again, we extend a further warm welcome to him here at UNC and eagerly await more of what he will bring to the department and the Korean program for the future.


Professor Lothspeich offers new course: The Beauty and the Power of the Classical Indian World

November 24, 2018
A new course in Asian Studies, for both undergraduate and graduate students* in Spring 2019: 
ASIA 522—
The Beauty and the Power
of the Classical Indian World
Taught by Professor Pamela Lothspeich
Tuesday, Thursday 11:00-12:15, 115 Murphey Hall
Fulfills GenEds LA and WB, and there are no prerequisites!
Ashoka Pillar from Sarnath, India
This course investigates the classical Indian world through texts in Sanskrit and other classical languages (translated into English). In the classical period (circa 300 BCE -1200 CE), Sanskrit was the language of choice for many Indian elites—kings, priests, scholars, and artists—used to convey knowledge and delight audiences, even as the populace continued to speak and develop literatures in various regional languages. In this course, we’ll explore Sanskrit literary culture, and a number of “rival” classical literary traditions in languages like Tamil, Telugu, and Pali. Readings include primary sources like poetry and drama, and works of aesthetic theory from the classical period. These primary sources will be supplemented with recent scholarly writings  on themes such as “vernacularization,” i.e. the historic transition from a predominantly Sanskrit literary culture to one of diverse vernacular literatures. This course will have a seminar format.
*Graduate students will have additional readings and assignments, including a more substantial research paper.

Summer 2019 Study Abroad Program in Morocco

November 20, 2018

Dr. Khalid Shahu, Teaching Assistant Professor in Arabic, will lead a UNC summer study abroad program in Rabat, Morocco in 2019. Please see the attached flyer for more information.